Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cake Balls! (Click photo to enlarge.)

Those of us who bake, sadly, have to discard the best part of every single cake we make:  the top.  It's a terrible thing and when I first started doing it, it caused me actual physical pain to have to slice it off and waste it.  A girl can only have so many plastic bags full of cake "odds and ends" in the freezer.  Bakers also find themselves with a similar icing-related problem.  It hurts to waste it.  I was doing a huge cake, so I made a triple batch of cream cheese icing (or caramel infused buttercream or fresh strawberry italian meringue, etc.), and when I was finished, I still had cups and cups of it left over...  and it hurt me in my bones to scrape it down the sink.  But THIS is the exact reason why some brilliant person invented.....  CAKE BALLS!  Take the best part of the cake, the top, mix it with the most fabulous from-scratch icing, roll it, freeze it, dip it into melted ganache (semi sweet chocolate and warm heavy cream), and TA DA:  cake balls!  Final step:  stuff it in your face one blissful bite at a chocolate-covered time.  These things get devoured.  I'm not sure if it's because they're delicious or if it's because people just lose their minds when anything even resembling cake is put in front of them.  So word of advice - if you try your hand at cake balls, be sure to make LOTS more than you think you'll need. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harvest birthday cake (click photos to enlarge).

I was asked to do another harvest themed cake - this time for a married couple who have October/November birthdays and were sharing a party.  I was supposed to take the blue harvest cake I did a couple weeks ago and make it a bit more "adult" friendly while keeping it similar.  I have been wanting to do a cake with a tree growing up the front face for a while now, so I figured now was as good a time as any.  Twenty hours worth of sculpted fondant later, I came up with this.  Couldn't decide whether to put the chicken down by the ear of corn or up on top of her nest, so I left her "loose" instead of glueing her down with chocolate (the way everything else was glued down).  Not much in this world is more fun that an interactive cake you can play with.  Ok, that IS kinda' gross if you think about it - and I heard today from the girl who asked me to bake this cake that someone at the party considered eating the chicken and then had second thoughts after she realized half the town had played with it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pink Pink Pink Pink Pink and more Pink (click photo to enlarge).

This was as "last minute" as a cake can be!  I only had about a week's notice on this cake, which is really weird since I'm usually booking cakes a few months out.  I was so happy I was able to make room for it!  I referred to it all week long as my "pink nightmare," because there were 4 degrees of pink fondant all over the place for days on end!  Although the cake was full of miniscule details (which I LOVE!), I was a bit saddened that I had very little artistic freedom with it.  I was asked to copy a picture someone gave me and to try not to take any liberties with the design if I could control myself.  (Which, if you know me at all, you know that sometimes I just can't control myself.)  At the time I first wrote this blog entry, I didn't know who the original designer of the cake was - but the caking community is a very close-knit one, and I soon found out it was a lady from Virginia who goes by "Jan14grands" on Cake Central.  Her work is honest-to-God amazing and my cake didn't hold a candle to her original design.  In fact, I told the lady who asked me to make this cake that the only way I would even attempt this cake was if I could cut out certain "high difficulty level" elements:  the fondant border, the quote that was piped on the side, and the second bow.  Due to that short notice thing I mentioned earlier, she was just so grateful to find someone who was willing to make it for her that she quickly agreed.  This cake was white almond sour cream with plain-Jane vanilla filling and icing. All decorations are homemade marshmallow fondant and completely edible.  I'm indebted to the wonderful members of for their support and for all the wonderful ideas that are inspired by those folks.  We have the best community of bakers anywhere in the world there. 
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